NOAH Differ Cup 2005
review by Suicidal Youth

Night One

Katsuhiko Nakajima & Takehiro Murahama vs. Super Shisa & Tiger Emperor
A decent encounter to get the festivities. However, it needs to be said that this one fell into the "stop and go" type of match. If you hate the cliched Indy standoff, you're going to want to shoot these guys bad. Once that's out of the way, Murahama and Nakajima take it to the masked competitors, working them over with some slick tag team work. Both of them bring some insanely stiff kicks throughout the course of the match. Emperor gets the hot tag,
but even he gets worked over with a vicious kick combo from Nakajima. During the course of things, Shisa gets a nearfall with a Double Underhook Suplex with a Headstand Bridge. TE looks to head to the top, but gets knocked off the turnbuckles when Nakajima takes his head off with the R-15. However, he survives, and gets the pinfall after nailing the Tiger Suplex '04 on Nakajima. **1/4

Minoru Fujita & Ikuto Hidaka vs. TAKA Michinoku & PSYCHO
TAKA is an eleven year veteran at this point, and has changed his style, making him even more kick ass than before. I haven't seen PSYCHO before, and haven't seen anything from Fujita or Hidaka since they left the states. Anyway, this was definitely better than the last match. Hidaka and PSYCHO start things out, and PSYCHO looks like he's got some flying ability. TAKA and Fujita soon enter, and the strikes fly. Things go incredibly fast paced, and TAKA ends up eating an Inverted Atomic Drop out of a Leapfrog. He aids PSYCHO in Dropkicking the Zero ONE MAX crew, and accidentally gives his own partner a Backdrop Suplex. Fujita and Hidaka then crush PSYCHO's skull with a Double Dropkick. We're then treated to some nice heel work focusing on a Boston Crab. PSYCHO finds an opportunity, and nails a swank Swinging Complete Shot. TAKA gets the tag, and wastes no time breaking out the No Hands Springboard Plancha into the crowd!! Back inside, TAKA goes for the Michinoku Driver II, but Hidaka counters with a DDT!! TAKA locks on the Just Facelock, but Hidaka finds the ropes. However, TAKA won't quit that easily, and locks it on once again while countering a Powerbomb. Fujita and PSYCHO make it back in, and Fujita taunts TAKA by nailing the Michinoku Driver II on PSYCHO! TAKA locks the Just Facelock on Hidaka, but neither is the legal man, and that allows Fujita to submit PSYCHO with the Boneyard. ***

KENTA & Naomichi Marufuji vs. KUDO and Iifushi Kota
The best match of the night right here, slightly edging out one of the semi final matches. KENTA and KUDO face off to start the match, and kick the ever living hell out of each other. KENTA changes tone by slapping KUDO, and the two slap each other senseless, with KENTA winning. The two trade kicks again, but both end up floored this time. Kota and Marufuji take over with some nice exchanges. Kota sends Marufuji to the floor, and follows with a Space Flying Tiger Sault!! Back inside, he nails a standing Shooting Star Press. The offense doesn't last, as KENTA locks on a Camel Clutch, and cranks on it big time. Marufuji isn't left out, as he nails a Piledriver on the ramp, which Kota no sells. Back inside, the two lock on an Abdominal Stretch/Octopus double team submission! THAT'S NEW!! Eventually, Kota gets the tag, and KUDO takes it to the resident Jr. Heavyweight aces. Marufuji takes a HUGE German Suplex, which looks like it should have broken his neck. KUDO gets caught coming off the top, but Kota was there for the save, and nailed a Cartwheel Standing Phoenix Splash (sloppy move #1). Moonsault by Kota gets another nearfall (sloppy move #2). With Marufuji on the floor, Kota goes for the win with a Phoenix Splash that almost smashes KENTA's face in (sloppy move #3), and KUDO follows with a Flying Double Knee Drop. The NOAH gang has had enough, and goes for the kill with a Doomsday Busaiku Knee Kick on Kota!!! KUDO saves, but is thrown to the outside while KENTA nails the KENTA Combo, and then proceeds to run through Kota's skull with a Busaiku Knee Kick. ***1/4

Takashi Sasaki and GENTARO vs. Kaz Hayashi and Leonardo Spanky
It's worth noting that Sasaki is quickly approaching the Masato Tanaka level of back scarring. Anyway, this one starts out with Kaz and Spanky being whipped around on the floor for a few minutes. Back inside, Spanky is worked over extensively with several stiff strikes. Each time he looks to escape, he's beaten back down to the mat. He eventually makes the tag to Kaz, which allows them to nail a spectacular duo to Planchas to the floor! Kaz takes a nearfall with the WA4, and he and Sasaki roll to the floor. Things pretty much go ape shit in the final stages of the match, with Kaz and Sasaki facing off while GENTARO and Spanky do battle back in the ring. Sweet Chin Music (complete with taunt and set up) gets GENTARO a nearfall. He misses the Shooting Star Press, allowing Spanky to nail the Sliced Bread #2 for another nearfall. In the chaos that ensues, Hayashi nails the Final Cut on Sasaki, which allows them to pin GENTARO with a Powerbomb/Avalanche Sliced Bread #2 for the win. **3/4

Sonjay Dutt vs. Ebessan
XD!! This was funnier than hell throughout most of the match. Ebessan complains about the ref's count, and instructs him to counter faster. Sonjay rolls Ebessan up, and the ref counts fast as he was instructed. Ebessan was less than thrilled. Sonjay ends up on the floor, and Ebessan crotches him as he re-enters the ring. Even the ref gets crotched. Once Sonjay got back in, Ebessan works him over, which included spanking him in the ropes! Sonjay fires back with an awesome Asai DDT and a Satellite DDT. Ebessan strikes back with the Ebisu Otoshi and the Shining Ebezard. However, the ref ends up being tricked into DDT'ing and Lariating Ebessan. Sonjay nails a Springboard Tornado DDT, and wins with the Phoenix Splash. **1/2

Super Shisa & Tiger Emperor vs. Minoru Fujita & Ikuto Hidaka
A great match to start out the semi-finals of the tournament. I'm really digging Fujita and Hidaka. The strategy here is obvious: If the Zero One MAX crew want to advance to the finals, they're going to have to ground Shisa and Tiger, and work them over for the submission victory. Tiger and Shisa strike first, with Shisa nailing the Headstand Headscissors, and Tiger landing an awesome Plancha!! Back in the ring, however, it's a different story, and Shisa is grounded, and worked over fairly thoroughly. He makes the tag to Emperor, who cleans house, and the two lock on a Double Bow and Arrow Submission. However, Tiger is also soon grounded, and Hidaka goes nuts on his leg, locking on a Figure Four. Things break down big time in the final stages of the match, with Hidaka nailing a nice Tornado DDT, and Fujita locking on the Boneyard, but Shisa made it to the ropes. Emperor counters a Brainbuster with an Inverted DDT in mid-air. Emperor takes Fujita out of the equation, and makes a hard fought attempt to end the match. He nails a Stalling Tiger Driver for a nearfall. Hidaka goes for the Shawn Capture, but TE counters, and ends up nailing the Tiger Feint Kick. He goes for the move that ended his first round match: The Tiger Suplex '04, but Fujita breaks it up. TE Dropkicks Hidaka out of the ring, but he hangs on, comes back into the ring, and lands the Shawn Capture!! TE fights it off as hard as he could, but eventually he's got no choice, and taps out. ***1/4

KENTA & Naomichi Marufuji vs. Kaz Hayashi & Leonardo Spanky
Another great match. This one will decide who will face off in the finals of the tournament the next night. With the caliber of talent in this match, this could have easily been the finals, as each man has bragging rights of some sorts. However, not this time, as only one team will go to the finals. Maru and KENTA quickly grab the advantage, and work over Spanky, even showing some nice heel work, even though they're faces and everyone loves them (for the most part). Spanky takes a major ass kicking all over the ring and the ringside area. KENTA fakes a Springboard Legdrop, opting to land on his feet, and simply kick Spanky in the face!!! Kaz makes it in eventually, and he and KENTA goes not on each other's skulls with strikes. Marufuji and Hayashi face off, with Maru dodging a Shining Wizard, and nailing a Tiger Driver, but as Kaz kicks out, he catches Marufuji with the Shining Wizard!! Things gets pretty nutty at the end. Kaz and Spanky nail the Powerbomb/Avalanche Sliced Bread #2, but this time the pin is broken up. Kaz nails the Final Cut, but KENTA isn't phased, and nails the Busaiku Knee Kick!! Both Spanky and Marufuji miss attempts at their finishers, but Marufuji rolls Spanky up in a Rolling Prawn Hold to advance to the finals. ***1/4

Night Two

Katsuhiko Nakajima vs. Osamu Namiguchi
A rather surprising opening bout. This one did a good job of firing the crowd up. Osamu didn't look like much, but the man can throw a strike, and take one at that. However, Nakajima's got the game covered in that area, so it's no surprise when he takes control. Plenty of strikes and submissions dished out by the representative of Kensuke Office. However, Osamu holds his ground, and hangs in there with Nakajima. The final stage of the match sees
Osamu get busted open the hardway. Nakajima goes for the kill with the R-15, but it's ducked. Nakajima hits a beautiful German Suplex, but the time limit expires just as the ref is ready to slap his hand down for the three count.

Amazing Kong vs. Stalker Ichikawa
This consisted of Stalker chopping Kong twice, grabbing her breasts, and eating a Lariat for his lack of hand control. All in twenty three seconds worth of time, might I add. Oooookaaayyy.......

Amazing Kong vs. Stalker Ishikawa& DJ Nira
This lasted a bit longer, but not by much. Nira takes the first big shot of the match with an FFF for a two count. Stalker nails an Assbutt (that's right, a headbutt to the ass). However, it's a lost cause, as Kong nails a massive Powerbomb, and splatters both men with a Flying Splash onto both. *1/2

KUDO & Takehiro Murahama vs. Iifushi Kota & Hi69
Now we're back to the serious stuff. KUDO and Kota teamed up in the tournament itself last night, and are the first to face off in the match. They bring some kicks that made me cringe big time. Eventually, it's Murahama and Kota facing off, with Kota being dominated for a good portion of time. He gets the tag to Hi69, who goes nuts, nailing a Running Double Knee Strike to the head of Murahama. KUDO gets into the action, but eventually he's tossed to the floor, which leads to Kota nailing a Shooting Star Press from the apron!!! I'm not talking about a step off the apron, backflip. Kota jumped with it, and landed it perfectly. The two tag partners are back in the ring, and Kota wants the win. He goes for a Moonsault off the top, but KUDO rolls out of the way. HOWEVER, Kota lands on his feet, and nails a Standing Moonsault!! AWESOME!!! Phoenix Splash (much better than last night's) get a two count, and Murahama plants Kota with a Brainbuster, allowing KUDO to take the win with a Flying Double Knee Drop. ***

TAKA Michinoku, PSYCHO, & Sonjay Dutt vs. Yoshihito Sasaki, Ishimori, & Tatsuhito Takaiwa
Oh, shit, this is going to be hell to follow. TAKA and PSYCHO are officially the only two guys that stuck together after losing in the first round. PSYCHO has impressed me quite a bit, although his look leaves a bit to be desired. He's dropped on his neck with a Backdrop Suplex (this time not from TAKA), and that opens the flood gates, so to speak, as everyone takes turn beating on him. He's eventually relieved by TAKA. PSYCHO returns to take it to Takaiwa, almost winning with a Springboard Senton Atomico. Dutt comes in, and nails a Standing Asai DDT for a nearfall. Takaiwa nails the Double Powerbomb, but gets caught with a Rocker Dropper going for number three. Dutt catches him in a Crucifix, but Takaiwa rolls through, and lands a Death Valley Bomb! Lariat gets two. Ishimori comes in, and he and Takaiwa pin Dutt with the W Impact. **1/4

Tiger Emperor & Super Shisa vs. Leonardo Spanky & Kaz Hayashi
I must say that this is the first tournament I've seen that has a "playoff" for third place. Anyway, this one was good, but could have been much better. Spanky is worked over early on, and decides that he's had enough, and the tables are turned, and it's Shisa's turn to get the crap kicked out of him. I must say that Shisa's headstands are unique, but I don't think very highly of them. Anyway, the final stages of this one are rather sloppy, with Kaz taking a header off of a Hurricanrana. He fires back with a Slingshot DDT and the Final Cut. He and Spanky win with the Powerbomb/Avalanche Sliced Bread #2. **3/4

KENTA & Naomichi Marufuji vs. Minoru Fujita & Ikuto Hidaka
Wow. Fantastic match to end a solid tournament. Fujita and KENTA start things off, and the crowd is surprisingly behind the Zero ONE MAX Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Champions, despite being in NOAH's home. Fujita takes charge with a DDT early, as well as some Ohtani-esque Bootscrapes in the corner. KENTA comes back, but gets planted with a vicious Powerbomb, with a Dropkick to the face just to add some more pain. Marufuji bails KENTA out of a submission, and the crowd boos! What really added to this match was that KENTA and Marufuji actually switched up their style and played the heels of the match excellently as the crowd booed them. KENTA eventually battles back, and nails some Bootscrapes to pay Fujita back for the ones KENTA received early in the match. Marufuji DDTs Fujita on the ramp, and then proceeds to taunt the fans nearby. Slingshot Elbow by Marufuji, followed by KENTA feigning a Slingshot Legdrop, opting to kick Fujita in the face instead. The crowd boos, and KENTA taunts them!! Fujita manages to nail an Avalanche Northern Lights Suplex, and makes the tag to Hidaka. Marufuji eats a Tombstone, and Fujita holds him in a Grounded Pendulum as Hidaka nails a STIFF Dropkick to his exposed face!! Cobra Clutch Implant DDT by Fujita gets a nearfall!! Things break down in the end in a very good way, with Fujita locking in the Boneyard on KENTA as Marufuji is trapped in the Shawn Capture by Hidaka! Props to the ref for being able to keep track of the legal men(a recurring theme throughout the tournament). KENTA barely makes it to the ropes. From there, it's nearfall after nearfall. Fujita is saved from the Powerbomb/Avalanche Shiranui by Hidaka. However, he isn't saved from the Doomsday Busaiku Knee Kick, but the pinfall is broken up. In sheer desperation, Fujita scores with several consecutive roll ups, all getting two counts. Tiger Suplex gets the closest two count imaginable, and a STIFF Busaiku Knee Kick gets the pinfall! ****1/4

: An excellent show that brought together some of the best Jr. Heavyweight wrestlers in Japan. I must say that the finals have definitely goaded me into checking out more work from Fujita and Hidaka. The finals must be seen, and the rest of the tournament ranges from solid to great. Pick it up.

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